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Sellwood Bird Fest continues to delight migratory avian fanciers

by: David F. Ashton Phil Hubert, an education bird handler with the Audubon Society of Portland, introduces folks to Julia, a great horned owl.

While some folks love caring for birds in a cage, others enjoy learning how they can better protect feathered friends in the wild.

Consequently, people came from all over Portland to the annual 'Wild Bird Festival' on May 7, held once again at Sellwood Park, on the bluff overlooking Oaks Bottom.

The City of Portland, led by 'Portland Parks Environmental Education', continues to partner with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to increase public awareness about the Migratory Bird Treaty Program, in which they are partners. One result is this annual bird-related event, designed for families.

These activities are widely varied - from songs and stories about birds, to crafts like making 'vulture planes' and bird feeders, and even gardening tips. While seed and feed was available for birds at the Bird Fest, Sellwood's Twin Paradox Coffee Shop donated cookies and coffee to nourish the humans present.

Wait - gardening tips??

'Yes, any chance we get to educate people about taking out invasive species and replacing them with native plants in their yards is great,' smiled Robin Bown, a biologist with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, at their booth. 'This helps birds along the Pacific Flyway thrive. And, today's event helps show how everyone can pitch in to help protect birds.'

Visitors' day wouldn't have been complete without an expertly-led bird walk through nearby Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge. 'We're showing our group an anise hummingbird nest, and where a screech owl has been roosting,' confided Pat Crane, a volunteer from the Audubon Society of Portland. 'The area is alive with birds today.'

From smiling kids who flapped their arms like wings, to serious displays of birds by Audubon volunteers, it looked as if this had been another great festival for people - and not just for the birds.